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Film / Saw VI

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WARNING: All spoilers from previous films in the Saw franchise are unmarked here. Read on or go backmake your choice.

"All you need to know is that from now on, I control all aspects of the game."
Mark Hoffman

Saw VI is the sixth film in the Saw horror film series, released on October 24, 2009 and directed by Kevin Greutert. The film marked the directorial debut of Greutert, who had previously worked as the editor for all previous Saw films.

Similar to its predecessor, Saw VI is driven by the posthumous effects of the Jigsaw Killer, most currently through the progression of his apprentice Mark Hoffman. While he successfully executes his plan to frame FBI Agent Peter Strahm as the wanted second Jigsaw accomplice, the FBI begins suspecting that there's more to the case than it seems.

Upon their reopening the investigation, they find more and more inconsistencies with the presumption that Strahm is guilty, drawing Hoffman into action to protect his secret identity. Adding to the tension is Jill Tuck, Jigsaw's wife, who has arrived to reclaim and fulfill her late husband's will.


Meanwhile, insurance agent William Easton finds himself the target of Jigsaw's newest game due to his business policy, notorious for finding any and all reasons to turn down clients' coverage. Now, he is given the ultimate say over who lives and who dies as a series of tests forces him to choose between the lives of the people who work under him.

Preceded by Saw V. Followed by Saw 3D.

Saw VI provides examples of:

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  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Given all of them have their lives hinge on William's decisions and only two can make it out, every Shotgun Carousel victim begs and pleads for their lives.
  • All for Nothing:
    • William manages to guide Debbie out of the steam maze, incurring serious burns from hot air in the process, upon which they realize that the key to her freedom is sewn within William's side. As he tries to get it himself, Debbie begins swinging a nearby circular saw at him, escalating things into a fight for no substantial reason. Unsurprisingly, Debbie's time runs out as a result, and she is killed.
    • William's death could very much be considered this. After going through a series of demanding traps, which leads to him realizing the error of his ways and the value of the lives of the clients he had indirectly killed by denying coverage, William gets killed by the son of one of said rejected clients, ultimately making his redemption completely meaningless.
  • Amoral Attorney: Debbie fiercely fought back against anyone that threatened William or his company's policies.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Simone chops off her left arm to survive her test.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Simone when she sees her time is running out, after which she makes the decision to chop off her arm.
    • Pamela when Brent decides to execute William.
  • Boom, Headshot!: As Debbie fails to kill William in time, the device attached to her chest launches a metal rod directly at her head, killing her instantly.
  • Break the Cutie: For Pamela, it doesn't get much worse than seeing your sibling dissolved by acid in front of your own eyes.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Hoffman uses FBI lab technician Sachi as one while Perez is emptying her magazine on him. As usual, it works.
  • Call-Back: Debbie's game, where she must kill William to remove a key from his stomach in order to take off a device that will kill her, is a direct call-back to Amanda's test in the first film.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Three of them from previous films.
    • The biggest one is the note that Amanda read in Saw III. We find out that it was a blackmail by Hoffman in this movie.
    • At the climax, we are shown that the box John left Jill in his will at the beginning of Saw V had the contents for Hoffman's test.
    • In Saw V, when John is talking to Hoffman after kidnapping him from the elevator, John mentions that Hoffman's pendulum was made of inferior steel, and that tempered steel makes a cleaner cut. In this movie, Perez and Erickson find that the jigsaw piece cut from Eddie was cut with a serrated knife, and not Jigsaw's usual tempered scalpel. This is the thread that begins to unravel Hoffman's attempts to cover his tracks.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: From this movie onward, Detective Fisk, who worked in the homicide division with Hoffman and was previously seen in IV and V, ends up completely absent in the series. Even though pretty much every significant law enforcement officer (cops and FBI agents alike) dies at some point in the series, Fisk just disappears.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Jigsaw considers William to be one, for denying customers coverage when it could have saved their lives or eased their sickness. Subverted, since it's clear he doesn't enjoy doing so and tries vainly to save everyone he can over the course of Jigsaw's test.
    • It's still played straight in the clinic party scene, though, where William was talking with John, bragging about his so-called "formula" that he created himself to determine who gets coverage or not.
    • It's also played straight with the Shotgun Carousel victims, as they looked for loopholes in William's policies to deny people health insurance.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • In a non-trap example, Erickson has his jugular vein cut out by Hoffman and is left writhing on the floor. After killing Perez and Sachi, Hoffman then douses him with gasoline and burns him and the whole room down.
    • William ends up having a bed of needles launched into his back with hydrofluoric acid pumped into them, which essentially eats through his stomach and completely separates his upper and lower torso. And it takes a while.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: William manages to make his way through his tests alive and having learned the lesson he had been meant to learn about respecting life... only for the son of a man who died because of his past decisions as an insurance agent to kill him when given the choice between that or forgiveness.
  • Dead-Hand Shot: Two of the film's promotional posters brings back the severed hands and feet from the first film's promotions with a leather-like stitching.
  • Decoy Protagonist: As William realizes, the movie's main game isn't his: it's that of the family of one of the people he's let die.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: William has been put through utter hell and has apparently learned his lesson about the true implications of deciding who lives and who dies based on greed, and advances to the final test, where he finds himself face to face with the wife and son of a man who died because William cancelled his coverage. And it's their game, not his. Cue the son flipping a switch that injects William with gallons of acid.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • While chain-smoking despite a history of health issues can be seen to be in line with John's philosophy of punishing people inconsiderate of their lives, that is still an absurdly petty reason to put someone in a death trap. Worse yet, Hank was merely a janitor for William's company and not complicit in his corrupt work at all.
    • Allen and Addy, on both counts. Addy is notable for having done absolutely nothing wrong and enjoying her life. While she worked for William, she merely scheduled his appointments and was not complicit in his work. Allen himself simply maintained William's files and documents, having no role in denying people insurance like his other workers.
  • Dying Declaration of Hate: Perez gets a subtle one as her last words; once Hoffman is ousted as being the wanted second Jigsaw apprentice and the one who tried to frame Strahm as being said apprentice before he died, he goes on an absolute rampage and kills the people with him in the FBI's technical lab, ending it with Perez. He stabs her constantly while asking her who else knows that it's been him all along, to which Perez simply replies, "Everyone." Hoffman tried to frame her partner of five years for heinous crimes, even using his severed hand to try and pull it off, and Perez's last act, now content in the knowledge that Strahm was innocent, is letting Hoffman know that every law enforcement agency in the city will be out for his head.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Josh has what is absolutely, without a doubt, the most badass death speech in the whole franchise.
    "Aw, well, that's it, isn't it? It's over! You MOTHERFUCKER! You spineless, pussy-whipped motherfucker! That's all it takes, eh? A bitch says one thing and it's all over! You know what, William? Your policy is bullshit! Fucking bullshit! Well, you listen to me, you son of a bitch! I did everything for you! LOOK AT ME! WHEN YOU'RE KILLING ME, YOU LOOK AT ME!"
  • Exact Words: William is told via videotape that if he fails, he will "never see his family again". In the finale, we learn that the mother and son are in fact the real test subjects, and that Pamela is his sister/"family".
  • Face Death with Dignity: Played with. Josh, one of the Shotgun Carousel victims, has his turn come around when he knows that his death is sealed. He has the mental wherewithal to deliver a furious Final Speech to William, but he notably whimpers right before he's killed.
  • Fake Pregnancy: One of the six victims on the Shotgun Carousel, Gena, claims to be pregnant, hoping that William will spare her life. The other victims immediately yell that she's lying, but whether they're telling the truth or making up anything to try to save their asses is never made clear. He doesn't spare her either way.
  • Fan Disservice: Debbie in the steam maze. The steam causes her blouse to stick to her body rather tightly, but this is never focused on by the camera given the horror of the situation, and she ends the scene by dying in a rather gruesome manner.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Despite William helping her through the first half of her game, the steam maze, she immediately tries to kill him upon meeting him. Justified as the key to her survival was in William's stomach, and given William's apprehension of being cut open, Debbie has no choice but to kill him.
  • Fat Bastard: Eddie is a predatory lender and noticeably pudgy. His overweight condition actually comes into play when he tries to cut off his belly fat and use it for the pound of flesh scale.
  • Filibuster Freefall: This film has a plot that's oddly more political than the rest of the series, including following films. The opening trap has a pair of Loan Sharks as its victims, and the plot's series-typical origin storyline (which serves as the base for the film's main game) is about how John was outraged that his health insurance company denied him access to a potentially lifesaving treatment and destroyed his life; this matches the United States' healthcare situation in 2009 (the year the film was released), when the foreclosure crisis and healthcare reform were at the top of the American political agenda. One scene even has John rant about how politicians who claim that healthcare decisions should be in the hands of doctors and their patients are dishonest because it's actually the insurance companies who make all the decisions.
  • Flashback Echo: At the end of the film, after the Reverse Bear Trap 2.0 has gone off on Hoffman, and just before the final shot of Hoffman kneeling on the floor with a torn cheek, we get a rapid showing of every scene of someone closing the door on someone else at the end of the other films; in order, John closing the Bathroom's door on Adam in the first film, Amanda closing the Bathroom's door on Eric in Saw II, Hoffman closing the Ice Block Trap room's door on Rigg in Saw IV, and Jill closing the control room's door on Hoffman just a minute before in this film.
  • Four Is Death:
    • William has four bomb straps tied on his limbs, and four tests he must complete to get them off.
    • The Shotgun Carousel has six of William's employees chained down, and he can only save two of them, so at least four will die.
  • Glasgow Grin: Hoffman receives half of one after narrowly escaping the Reverse Bear Trap 2.0.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: As the acid liquefies William, his lower body detaches itself.
  • Hollywood Acid: Hydrofluoric acid, while still extremely dangerous and something that should never be in contact with skin, does not instantly melt human flesh.
  • Human Shield: Hoffman was quick to use Sachi as one the moment his identity as a Jigsaw apprentice was revealed, specifically as a barrier between himself and Perez as the latter instinctively fires her pistol while blinded by the lab's lack of lightning after Hoffman cut the power, inadverently killing Sachi. It doesn't take long before Hoffman throws Sachi's corpse away and immediately stabs Perez several times.
  • Idiot Ball: Despite normally being very intelligent, John brings this to an absurd level in this movie. In the origin storyline, John is first seen meeting William at a party in Jill's clinic, where he chides him for his abhorrent policy on denying insurance claims. In a subsequent scene, we find out that, for some insane reason, John proceeded to become a client of William's, despite already knowing that his policy routinely screws people over.
  • I Have a Family: Emily gets saved from the shotgun in the Shotgun Carousel after she tells William that she has two children who can't live without her.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Hoffman does Perez in.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Simone is one of the few people in the franchise who is correct that Jigsaw doesn't help people, and is full of it.
    Simone: He wanted us to learn...
    Hoffman: And did you?
    Simone: ...Look at me. Look at my goddamn arm! What the FUCK am I supposed to learn from THIS, huh?!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: By the end of the movie, William did learn a thing or two about helping people. If he had lived, he may have become a better person. Even from the beginning of the movie, he clearly takes no pleasure in refusing health coverage to his clients, meets with them personally, and even agrees with Harold calling him a criminal. Once the game begins, he does everything possible to help the other victims, his employees, from the very first test, even being willing to cut himself open to save his lawyer while she's coming at him with a buzzsaw.
  • Just in Time: William reaches his final test just when the timer is at one. The true game begins here.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: The very first trap of the film has an overweight man (Eddie) and a small woman (Simone) competing against one another for their survival. They're told to hack off parts of their skin, and the one whose pile weighs the most survives. Simone wins by hacking off her arm to outdo Eddie, who was cutting into his stomach.
  • Loners Are Freaks: In the recording message for the Gallows, Allen is mentioned to have no friends or family, and therefore no one to miss him if he dies unlike Addy. This is a fact Jigsaw uses to tip sympathy in Addy's favor.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Given a choice between saving the women or the men, William generally saves the women. Two women do die, but he had no means to control that:
    • Debbie attacked him in an effort to save herself before he could make his own attempt (which he was willing to do), so her death is her own fault.
    • In the Shotgun Carousel, he could only save two out of six people with equal gender distribution, so one woman had to die.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    John: Healthcare decisions should be made by doctors and their patients, not by the government. Well, now I know they're not made by doctors and their patients or the government. They're made by the fucking insurance companies. (tense music reaches a crescendo as John looks at William's fish tank) Piranha!
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: The opening trap's victims are a pair of bankers who loaned money to people who they knew couldn't pay it back, and proceeded to extract from them every pound of flesh they could with interest on their debt. Jigsaw punishes them by forcing them to give up their own "pound of flesh": whoever cuts off the most of their flesh (measured by the scale they put it on) gets to live, while the other dies from a pair of drills to the brain attached to the helmets they're wearing.
  • Motor Mouth: Befitting her sensationalist nature, Pamela is very chatty and has little sense of personal space, which draws the ire of Jill and Hoffman.

  • Never My Fault/No Honor Among Thieves: Eddie blames everything on Simone, ignoring his own part in their dirty work and refusing to die for her. More notable is that he starts the test by leaning forward, despite Simone specifically telling him not to, yet still blames her for the situation.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Hoffman uses Strahm's severed hand left from the final trap in the previous film to plant his fingerprints at the next game. Unfortunately for him, forensic data from the hand's dead state actually proves that Strahm was not the "second apprentice", which serves to be one of the big pieces for Hoffman's later downfall.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: At least, William is evil from Tara's viewpoint. At the end, Tara is given an opportunity to do this, as she is allowed to choose whether the man who denied her husband's health insurance lives or dies. She shouts that she's going to do it, and her hand closes around the lever... but ultimately, she can't go through with it. Unfortunately for William, while Tara can't pay evil unto evil, her son can; Brent pulls the lever and kills William.
  • Potty Failure: Hank wets himself midway through the Oxygen Crusher game.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • The only other time Jigsaw drops an F-bomb is when he's talking to William and says, "Healthcare decisions should be made by doctors and their patients, not by the government. Well, now I know they're not made by doctors and their patients or the government. They're made by the fucking insurance companies."
    • Brent's Pre-Mortem One-Liner also applies.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Said by Brent, as he seals William's fate.
    Brent: You killed my father, you motherfucker! (pulls lever to "DIE") Now you burn in hell!
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Josh delivers what is probably the ballsiest and most awesome monologue in the whole franchise when he fully realizes William intends to kill him in order to spare two of his female employees.
    "Aw, well, that's it, isn't it? It's over! You MOTHERFUCKER! You spineless, pussy-whipped motherfucker! That's all it takes, eh? A bitch says one thing and it's all over! You know what, William? Your policy is bullshit! Fucking bullshit! Well, you listen to me, you son of a bitch! I did everything for you! LOOK AT ME! WHEN YOU'RE KILLING ME, YOU LOOK AT ME!"
  • Redemption Equals Death: William passes all his tests and learns his lesson about helping people. Then it's revealed that the family of one of the people he let die are also playing a game: Letting him live or not. They choose not to, as they never forgave him, and he dies one of the most violent and painful deaths in the series.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Tara subverts this. She strongly considers killing William but ultimately can't bring herself to do it and forgives him. Brent on the other hand...
  • Sadistic Choice: The general theme of most of William's tests, meant to reflect the choices between who lives and who dies he routinely makes through his insurance company.
    • The Gallows. William's file clerk Allen and secretary Addy have nooses of barbed wire and are on a hinged platform supported by chains which William must hold in his hands. The chains become more and more taut every few seconds, and if he doesn't let one go, both will fall. Addy is an old, diabetic woman (not worth covering according to William's insurance policy) with a family while Allen is a young, perfectly healthy loner (worth covering). William eventually lets Allen to go off, sparing Addy.
    • The Shotgun Carousel. William's six insurance inspectors — Aaron, Emily, Gena, Dave, Shelby, and Josh, collectively known as the "Dog Pit" — are chained to a carousel with a loaded gun in front of it. The carousel will periodically stop rotating, causing the gun to fire and kill someone. However, if William is willing to press buttons that will drive a nail into his hand, he can divert the gun so it fires harmlessly up into the air instead of killing someone. The catch is, he can only do this twice, and the carousel will not stop until the gun has fired six times, so William can only pick two people to save, leaving the other four to die. This is Jigsaw's way of criticizing William's policy, which is responsible for two-thirds of insurance applicants being rejected and left to die. William decides to spare Emily and Shelby.
  • Secret Test of Character: John's final test was to test Hoffman himself with a game, which was set up by Jill, who was carrying out John's final request. Hoffman manages to beat the trap and live.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: William may well be the biggest example of this in the series. In order, he had to hold his breath for a painful duration so that another guy will trigger a trap and get himself killed; choose whether to save an old, diabetic mother or a perfectly healthy loner; suffer severe steam burns while trying to help his company's lawyer escape a maze and then nearly get hacked open when she tries to find the key necessary to save her life; and then choose which two of his insurance analysts will live, condemning the other four to death. Eventually, it turns out that he was never really in control of his own fate, and he dies at the hands of an angry, vengeful teenager.
  • Skyward Scream: Hoffman, in the final shot of the film, with his right cheek torn open after barely surviving the new Reverse Beartrap.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Harold Abbott, the man whom William denied coverage for his cardiac disease. It's because of this decision that Jigsaw became interested in William and all his affiliates.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Averted. Try lighting up a cigarette after watching William and the janitor's first test.
  • Space Whale Aesop:
    • If you want someone to quit smoking, don't buy them a nicotine patch. Just force them to watch the scene where a poor janitor has his chest crushed in a Jigsaw trap just because he was a smoker with bad lungs. They'll never pick up a cigarette again.
    • Providing methadone and other compassionate care for people with substance abuse disorders? Bad, enabling, creating leaches on society. The best way to treat substance abuse disorder is to bring a person inches away from a gruesome death and make them stab someone in the stomach, look through their entrails and find a key to unlock themselves. Sure, it'll also turn them into murderers in their own right, but hey, better than methadone.
  • Spanner in the Works: Pamela's obsession with Jigsaw leads her to find the letter Hoffman used to blackmail Amanda. While Jill denies knowledge of it when Pamela pesters her over it, she's actually furious enough over it to later sabotage Hoffman's game, making Hoffman go completely mad and have his identity ousted to the public when Jill seeks police protection in the next film.
  • Start of Darkness: The origin storyline intertwined with the movie's two main plots is about the beginning of John's moral descent, shown through Jill and William's flashbacks.
  • The Starscream: A flashback in this movie reveals that Hoffman blackmailed Amanda into failing her test in III, setting off the chain of events that led to the deaths of both her and John in quick succession. Jill later caught onto this deception, and angrily tries to sabotage Hoffman's test.
  • Strapped to a Bomb: Four bombs are strapped to William's arms and legs, set to explode in 60 minutes unless he completes his tests and gets the keys to remove them.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Subverted. Hoffman meets with Simone to clear some internal doubts he has about John's philosophy. While she initially seems to be suffering from this, when Hoffman actually asks if she learned anything from her ordeal, she furiously lashes out at him and angrily demands to know what good could possibly come from John's logic. Even in the next movie, an incredibly bitter Simone calls out other survivors at their meetups for claiming Jigsaw made them positively re-evaluate their lives in some way.
  • Tempting Fate: Said by Aaron, the first victim of the Shotgun Carousel to get killed.
    Aaron: Listen to me, Mr. Easton. I am the one who should live! (is stopped before the shotgun first) Jesus Christ! Please, Mr. Easton! MR. EASTON! PLEASE! FOLLOW THE POLICY, MR. EASTON! DO IT! PLEASE! MR. EASTON, FOLLOW THE POLICY! FOLLOW THE POLICY! (gets killed by the shotgun)
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Hoffman, twice, and both at times when it seems like he's going down in defeat.
      • In the first one, as his attempt to frame Strahm as Jigsaw's second accomplice pitifully falls apart in front of him, Hoffman successfully pulls off a move that only a desperate idiot would normally attempt - he kills two gun-carrying FBI agents (and fairly major characters) using only a knife, a cup of coffee and a minor character as a human shield; Hoffman then works to re-establish Strahm as the Jigsaw accomplice by planting his fingerprints all over the crime lab, then setting it aflame... with a still-breathing but rapidly dying Erickson left behind.
      • Just minutes later, Hoffman is on the wrong end of a new Reverse Bear Trap model thanks to Jill, who reveals that this is part of John's will; as she exits the room, Hoffman bashes his way out of his restraints by using the trap, prevents the trap from opening fully, and finally rips the thing off, only getting his right cheek shred in the process.
    • At first, Jill seems to be an innocent victim of John's schemes due to her implicit involvement as his ex-wife. At the climax, she knocks out Hoffman with an electrocuted chair and puts him in the Reverse Bear Trap 2.0, all without a hint of remorse in her face.
    • William to an extent. He's a corrupt insurance executive who completes all of his tests, endures some severe wounds, gets hot steam blown into his face, and fought off Debbie long enough for a speargun that was attached in the harness she was stuck in to activate, which kills her. And he does all of that while his limbs are strapped with bombs.
  • Treasure Chest Cavity: In his trial, William has a key inside the right side of his abdomen. While the place is evident due to the blood stain in his shirt, the key isn't explicitly mentioned until William reaches the Steam Maze (which is also the only test in the trial where it's relevant at all).
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Brent knowingly sentences a man to die by being dissolved in acid. To be fair, he is horrified immediately after this.
  • Unwinnable by Design: The Oxygen Crusher consists of two contraptions consisted of two big metal clamps aiming at the victims' bodies from the sides. Once the game began, a highly sensitive pump measured their breathing activity. Each time one of them took a breath, the clamps would close in and eventually crush their body. Once someone dies, the trap would deactivate with the second victim free to go. However, due to Hank's smoking habits and health issues, there is legitimately no way he could ever win against William even if the latter intentionally tried to lose. Due to the expansive nature of William's trial, it seems Jigsaw was even aware of this and never expected Hank to win.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Brent kills William. But instead of gaining any satisfaction from it, he and his mother are horrified at his death and likely got PTSD for life.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Hank is one of the most underdeveloped victims in the series. We know his occupation and the ludicrous reason John tests him, but nothing more.
  • Wham Line:
    • Not so much the line as the one who delivers it once the voice on Seth Baxter's tape is decoded in front of Perez and Erickson.
      Hoffman: Right now you're feeling helpless.
    • The reveal of what Amanda read on that letter.
      Hoffman: Amanda— you were with Cecil the night Jill lost Gideon. You killed their child. You know it, and I know it. So do exactly as I say; kill Lynn Denlon, or I will tell John what you did.
  • Wham Shot: Doubled with a Wham Line (via voiceover) during one of the reveals, as we finally see what exactly was written in the letter in Saw III that caused Amanda's Villainous Breakdown; it was a blackmail note, written by Hoffman.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Allen angrily calls William out when he realizes he chose Addy's life over his.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Hoffman is called by Erickson and Perez to go to a local audio lab with them, where an FBI technician is analyzing the Pendulum Trap's tape. The analysis reveals that Hoffman's the true second wanted apprentice, so his plan to frame Strahm fails. Hoffman pulls an insane move in response: he murders the technician, Erickson and Perez with only a knife and a cup of coffee. Afterwards, he plants Strahm's fingerprints all over the lab, and then burns the place down.
  • You Killed My Father: Brent's inability to surmount his anger towards William for being responsible for his father's death is what enables him to flips the switch that activates William's death after his mother is unable to bring herself to do so. As quoted in Pre-Mortem One-Liner above, he even says it as he does it.